Seeing the joy on your child's face when they meet their favorite princess, taking them on their first roller coaster ride, and enjoying Mickey Bars in front of Sleeping Beauty castle Memories made at theme park resorts will stick with you and your children for years to come. Creating that perfect trip, however, can feel overwhelming. Plan ahead and follow these helpful tips to make the most of your family's theme park adventure.
1. Start Planning Now
Managing a successful theme park vacation starts way before your family walks into the park. Traveling with children, unpredictable weather, and large crowds can present many obstacles. It's best to "be prepared!" While summer may work best for your kids' school calendar, be aware that everyone will have the same idea, and the parks will be "un poco loco." If you can manage it, try for a fall or spring visit when the weather is cooler, and the crowds are smaller. Generally as a rule, if you avoid school breaks and holiday weekends, you’ll likely experience lower crowds. Around certain holidays like Halloween and Christmas, you may get the chance to enjoy special events, parades, and festive decor. These are incredibly popular times to visit the parks for good reason! Whenever you decide the best time for your family trip, get your tickets early. You can buy Disney tickets online or speak to a Get Away Today vacation planner for extra assistance.
2. Consult the Experts
While you can certainly plan the vacation yourself, consulting a travel agent focusing specifically on family theme park vacations, like Get Away Today, is also an option. And contrary to popular belief, instead of costing you more, it will actually save you money! Our agents visit both coasts regularly and know the ins and outs of the parks. And although there is no such thing as all inclusive Disney packages, our agents are up to date on deals and can help you bundle your hotel and tickets (and sometimes even dining!) for the best possible price.
3. Make a Schedule
If you plan the trip in person or over the phone with a travel agent, ask about scheduling suggestions. It is advisable to arrive as early as possible, preferably before the park opens. Theme parks tend to be quietest and have the shortest lines in the first two hours of the day. Prioritize and plan for all your must-see, must-ride attractions, and get those done first. This planning opens up the rest of the day for leisurely activities and spontaneous fun. When creating your daily schedule, be sure to include time for naps, meals, breaks, and wait times for rides and attractions. This is also the time to consider adding Genie+, which will reduce your wait times for attractions. Whether you upgrade to Genie+ or not, scheduling is especially important when traveling with little ones who may need more downtime.
4. Pack with Care
For the best theme park vacation, make sure to pack for all likely scenarios. Days at Disney or Universal Studios are filled with lots of walking in all sorts of weather, outdoor activities, and meals on the go. Be ready for sun, rain, minor scrapes and falls, hunger, thirst, and tired children. Consider bringing a stroller to keep your hands free and to ease your load. Or, bring a backpack. Disney Parks allow backpacks on most attractions. Packing essentials include:
- Wet wipes
- Quick snacks
- Refillable water bottles
- Phone chargers
- Jackets or sweatshirts
5. Consider Park Hopper Tickets
To really take your family's theme park vacation to a "whole new world," consider Disney Park Hopper tickets. Park Hopper tickets will let you visit more than one Disney park on the same day. You'll reserve the first park you want to visit, then move on to the second park later in the day. Disney Park Hopper tickets will give your family more flexibility with park visits and dining options. If you have limited time and can only swing a Disney 2-day package, Park Hopper tickets will give you the most flexibility. If you’re visiting Walt Disney World Resort, we recommend a minimum of three days. Even with a shorter stay, by having a Park Hopper ticket, you’d still be able to visit all four parks! This flexibility is especially helpful for being able to experience nighttime entertainment and making reservations at popular dining experiences such as Be Our Guest and Cinderella's Royal Table.
6. Book an On-Site or Nearby Hotel
If you are planning a multi-day theme park vacation, or if your child is used to regular naps throughout the day, consider booking an on-site or nearby hotel. Being able to pop out to an air-conditioned and quiet room in the middle of the day may be what your family needs for a relaxed, low-stress trip. Mid-day napping will have everyone re-energized and refreshed, and ready to enjoy the evening activities. On-site theme park hotels can give your family a seamless, magical experience. With on-theme decor, easy access back to the parks, and additional dining options, an on-site hotel can truly help you make the most of your vacation. The Disneyland Resort has three on-site hotels, but there are many off-site hotels that are within easy walking distance to the Parks. However, in Florida, Walt Disney World Resort is home to over 30 on-site properties with options from value to deluxe. There’s sure to be something that will fit your family’s needs.
Taking your family on a theme park vacation will create memories to last a lifetime. In the flurry and excitement leading up to the trip, however, it is essential to do your research, plan carefully, and consider bringing in expert advice to help make the most of the adventure. Our team at Get Away Today would love to help. Book online or call our agents at 855-GET-AWAY